Anthony (Bashir) of New York
His Eminence the Most Reverend Antony (Bashir), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, was the ruling bishop of the North American archdiocese of the Church of Antioch from 1936 to 1966. (His first name is also sometimes spelled Anthony.) He successfully led the splintered members associated with the Church of Antioch into an efficient, tightly-knit, and financially sound organization. He recognized early the need to introduce English in the American milieu and accept converts into the Church including ordaining many to the priesthood.
Antony Bashir was born on March 15, 1898, in Douma, Lebanon, to Joseph and Zaina Bashir. He initially studied at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tripoli, Lebanon, from 1911 to 1916, then continued his education at the Law School of Baabda, Lebanon, and at the American University of Beirut where he later taught Arabic literature. He was ordained a deacon on April 16, 1916, and actively worked for the Church in Lebanon. In 1922 the Patriarch of Antioch sent him to the United States where for the next thirteen years he was active organizing societies, building churches, and serving Syrian (Arab) parishes of the "unchurched Syrians in America." In 1923, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.
On April 19, 1934, Metr. Victor (Abo-Assaley) of New York died. He had been appointed head of the North American archdiocese of the Church of Antioch on September 11, 1924, by the Patriarch of Antioch. Thus, Archimandrite Antony was to administer those parishes that had been loyal to Victor until a successor would be named. After 1934, he provided much needed leadership to the dis-associated Syrian communities. His actions were recognized when he was consecrated archbishop in the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch. He was consecrated at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, by Metropolitan Theodosius of Tyre and Sidon and the ROCOR Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jersey City on April 19, 1936. In the ensuing years Abp. Antony brought organization and unity to the Antiochian community and pursued reconciliation of the division in the Syrian community created when Samuel (David) was also consecrated as the Syrian Archbishop of Toledo, Ohio.
He recognized the need for Orthodox cooperation, being instrumental in the organization in 1942 of the Federated Orthodox Greek Catholic Primary Jurisdictions in America and its re-organization into the more effective Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).
His letter to Patrarch Alexander III (Tahan) in 1958 resulted in the approval of a Western Rite throughout the patriarchate. Three years later, Metr. Antony consecrated the former members of the Society of Clerks Secular of St. Basil, which became the original basis of the Western Rite Vicariate. Metr. Antony appointed Fr. Alexander Turner the first Vicar General of the AWRV.
Anthony (Bashir) of New York
|Metropolitan of North America
- Orthodox America 1794-1976 Development of the Orthodox Church in America, C. J. Tarasar, gen. ed. Syosett, New York: The Orthodox Church in America, 1975.